Paris man chainsawed elephant tusk off museum piece

Jacques Cuisin of the Natural History museum speaks in front of the elephant skeleton whose tusk was chopped off by a thief, at the Natural History museum in Paris on March 30, 2013. Joel Saget/Getty Images

PARIS Authorities say a man has been arrested overnight for allegedly breaking into Paris' Museum of Natural History and cutting off a tusk from a centuries-old elephant skeleton with a chainsaw.

A police official said a neighbor of the Left Bank museum alerted authorities after hearing the sawing sound at around 3 a.m. Saturday.

The suspect, about 20 years old, had the tusk in his possession when police arrested him soon afterward outside the museum. Paris prosecutors' office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said the motive of the suspect wasn't immediately clear.

Museum official Jacques Cuisin told BFM-TV that the skeleton, which was draped under a plastic covering Saturday, belonged to an elephant that Portugal's king gave to French King Louis XIV in the late 17th century. Cuisin said it can be repaired.

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